A Christmas Tree to Remember
As we all get ready to celebrate the New Year perhaps we should pause and celebrate the Old Year. We look so forward to new things and new resolutions with great anticipation of what the New Year will bring.
Well as I began to take down my 2016 Christmas Tree something began to bother me. For a moment I stopped dismantling my tree and took a seat. The strangest and saddest feeling came over me. For the first time in my life I thought about the New Year in a different light. I thought to myself how next year might be different. How arrogant of me to take down this tree ornament by ornament with preparations forming in my mind of how I would unpack everything next year. I was thinking where to store things and how I would do things a little different on the tree next year. I would change this and that and even where I would place the tree next year. Like a ton of bricks reality hit me. Who says I will be here next year? Who says I will be able to see or hear or stand next year. A bold and audacious assumption had been made simply by taking down my Christmas Tree.
Here I was embracing a New Year when I wasn’t yet finished with the old year yet. I had not stopped to thank God for bringing me and my family through 2016. I had not thanked God for better health in 2016. I had not thanked God for allowing me and my family another 12 months of bills paid and full stomachs. I had not even stopped to thank God for safe travel and no accidents in 2016. I had not even thanked God for allowing me to live in a country that had not experienced war in 2016. I had taken for granted lights, heat, air conditioning, water and a comfortable bed to sleep in all of 2016.
How dare me assume that all of those things mentioned would await me and my family again in 2017. Here I was embracing an unknown year 2017 and not truly realizing what might lay ahead for me and my family.. Perhaps 2016 might be safer. Who knows the situation our country, or community or our economy will be in for 2017. How dare me look forward to a New Year without being truly grateful for what God has blessed me with in 2016.. In a moment my soul had been deeply convicted and I began to stare at the 4 angels that were left waiting a top my Christmas Tree. Waiting to be carefully wrapped and put away until next year with the other tree trimmings. I sincerely began to weep. My heart simply overflowed with gratefulness for a year in which me and my family had actually been blessed beyond anything we could ever imagine. Everyone in this house was still alive, healthy and blessed.
Suddenly I wasn’t in such a hurry to take down the tree and clean up my mess. I thought to myself who knows in 2017 what angels will be selected to stand amongst the Lord’s trees in Heaven. If I happens to be one, I just want to go on record as saying……..Christmas 2016 has truly been a blessing. 2016 was filled with millions of moments of wonderful heartbeats and lots and lots of unhindered deep breaths. Lord God Father In Heaven for the Old Year 2016 I am GRATEFUL. Sadly it took a quiet moment with four little angels and a partially dismantled Christmas Tree to make me REMEMBER!! In 2017 my friends let us all resolve to be more GRATEFUL.
Blessings Upon Blessings
I was sitting in the quiet of my living room tonight and I was drawn to the lights of my Christmas Tree. I took a moment to admire the ornaments that adorn my tree. I began to remind myself of the importance of a select few ornaments that stood staring back at me. I glanced down at the boxes of neatly wrapped gifts and I couldn’t help but to reflect back to the kid in me. I thought of the joy that would come on Christmas morning when my family would discover the treasures under the tree. I found myself going back in time and remembering the wonderful scenes of Christmas past such emotional times for me.
I remembered the good ole days of traveling to Evergreen Plaza in Chicago and sitting on the lap of a Black Santa Claus. Dad felt it was important for his children to see a black Santa Claus. You see on television a white Santa Claus was all we would ever see. Most malls and department stores had Santa Claus but he was always a different complexion than me. I was kid I didn’t care what color he was. I just wanted to take a seat and rattle off my list of toys I expected on Christmas Day under our tree. Looking back now I figure Daddy felt like “ hey I am spending my hard earned money each year at least let the fake Santa Claus look a lot more like me.” After all my Daddy was brown skinned and jolly he looked a lot like Santa Claus especially around the belly. ( Let’s keep that part between you and me. I wouldn’t want boulders from Heaven being thrown down on me.)
Every single year I read about new controversies concerning the celebration of Christmas , the origin and meaning of the Christmas Trees and of course those that wish to argue over the color of skin of Santa Claus all across our country. Humans seem to want to argue over the most trivial things. Christmas comes just once a year and I personally think that should be an off limits day for controversy and fighting. Why can’t it simply be a day of sharing, caring, eating and napping with strangers, family and friends. Why can’t we just celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and his wonderful gift of Salvation for all who desire to seek and receive it. If you don’t wish to accept such a gift that is perfectly fine with me. To each his own is my way of thinking. Why can’t we just use it as a day of giving. No matter what you wish to call it. No matter what you wish to believe in. Why not make it a special day to bring the gift of joy, happiness, compassion and unselfishness towards fellow human beings.
As I sat there a large bag with a Santa Claus plastered on front seemed to stare at me. Let me be clear before your minds wander…… I don’t drink! The bag kind of got me to thinking. A scripture came to me “ Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1 KJV) I thought to myself ….What If?
What if Santa Claus is merely a concrete illustration of the exercising of Faith? What if he was simply created as an elementary illustration of a bible school lesson for children on Faith? Children are taught to believe in Santa Claus and to wait with great excitement and anticipation for the desires of their hearts. They don’t see him physically on Christmas morning but like clockwork every year gifts appear. Sometimes it’s what we hoped for and at other times it simply isn’t. Doesn’t our Faith kind of work like that. We believe there is a God. We pray and fast believing that He will come through and give us the desires of our hearts. We can not physically put our hands on Him but we know when He has been in that hospital room, in the courtroom, in that operating room, in that wayward child’s room, in that mailroom sending an unexpected check or in the heart of that neighbor, friend or family member moved to bless us with help, food, comfort, prayers or a listening ear.
Perhaps we all have missed the lesson that Santa Claus has attempted to teach. He wasn’t really saying Ho Ho HO!!! Perhaps he has been actually saying ……..HOPE HOPE HOPE!! A misunderstood message for both you and me.
Blessings Upon Blessings